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September 26 Game Notes: Iowa Cubs vs. Toledo Mud Hens

September 26, 2022

IOWA CUBS (67-79) vs. TOLEDO MUD HENS (85-62) Monday, September 26, 2022 • 6:38 PM • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA RHP Matt Swarmer (3-3, 3.76) vs. RHP Bryan Garcia (5-3, 3.63)

IOWA CUBS (67-79) vs. TOLEDO MUD HENS (85-62)

Monday, September 26, 2022 • 6:38 PM • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA

RHP Matt Swarmer (3-3, 3.76) vs. RHP Bryan Garcia (5-3, 3.63)

TONIGHT’S GAME: The I-Cubs and Toledo will play game one of their three-game series tonight, with Iowa currently trailing the season series by two games, at 8-10. Iowa will send Matt Swarmer to the mound, entering tonight’s game with a 3-3 record and a 3.76 ERA. The right-hander has pitched in 20 games for Iowa this year, allowing 32 earned runs on 65 hits and 30 walks over 76.2 innings pitched. Over that span, he has struck out 82 batters while allowing opponents to hit .223 against him. He is set to pitch in his fourth game and make his second start of the year against Toledo, going 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA through his first three games. In his 8.2 innings against the Mud Hens, he has allowed three earned runs on eight hits including two home runs, while walking six and striking out 12. On the other side, Bryan Garcia will take the ball for the Mud Hens, set to make his 11th start in what will be his 39th game of the year for Toledo. The righty is 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA through his first 38 games, allowing 32 earned runs on 72 hits and 31 walks. He has struck out 66 batters over his 79.1 innings pitched, allowing opponents to hit .242 against him. Garcia has pitched in three games against Iowa this year, surrendering two earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out three batters over 3.2 innings of work.

SWARM’S SEASON: Matt Swarmer will start today’s game, likely wrapping up his 2022 campaign. It was a momentous year for the right-hander, who made both his 100th Minor League start and his first Major League start. He started his 2022 in the bullpen, but switched to starting within the first month of the season. He settled into that role quickly and climbed the International League leaderboards in the process, ranking third in ERA (2.08), fourth in WHIP (0.95) and second in opponent average (.167) by the end of May. That effort earned him his first MLB call-up on May 30. After joining the Cubs’ roster, he made five starts and then transitioned to the bullpen, where he made six relief appearances. While he earned two wins and handled 34.0 innings for the big league club, it wasn’t enough to keep him on the roster, and he was designated for assignment on July 16 then outrighted back to Iowa on July 21. Since then, Swarmer has slotted back into the I-Cubs’ rotation, and tonight’s game will mark his tenth consecutive start for the team. Despite all the movement, Swarmer has already set a single-season career high for appearances, with 31, and with his start tonight, he’ll tie his 2021 total for starts, with 20.

TRENDING THE RIGHT DIRECTION: From Wednesday to Friday last week against Omaha, Iowa’s offense was held to just 12 runs on 16 hits over 29 innings. Over the three-game stretch, they went just 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position and stranded 30 runners on-base, while hitting .160 (16-for-100) as a team. In Saturday’s finale against the Storm Chasers, their offense nearly produced more than they had in the previous three games combined, scoring nine runs on 13 hits. All nine starters got at least one hit, while the three-through-five hitters all recorded multi-hit games. The I-Cubs will have a difficult task on their hands trying to score against Toledo over the next three games, as the Mud Hens rank fifth in the International League in ERA with a team earned run average of 4.32.

BACK IN THE SWING OF THINGS: Narciso Crook had a three-hit game against Omaha on Saturday, marking his first three-hit effort since August 28 against St. Paul. The outfielder now has eight, three-hit games and 24 multi-hit games with Iowa this year. He is tops among the active roster in hits (92, 2nd), doubles (21, 3rd), home runs (19, T-1st), RBI (67, 1st), walks (34, 1st) and stolen bases (13, 1st). Crook had a three-game stretch from August 30 to September 1 in which he went 0-for-11 with two walks and seven strikeouts. He then didn’t have a single at-bat for over two weeks before re-joining Iowa’s lineup on September 18 against Memphis. He didn’t get a hit that game, but recorded multi-hit efforts in three of his five games played against Omaha, knocking two doubles and a home run while driving in four.

PERFECTION: Iowa’s bullpen was a key reason they earned their 67th win of the season on Saturday, as three pitchers combined to throw four perfect innings. When the relievers entered the game, the score was 7-4, but Omaha had scored in both the fourth and fifth innings. CD Pelham started the effort with a perfect frame, striking out two of the three batters he faced. He was followed by Cam Sanders, who used four flyouts while also striking out a batter to throw two perfect innings. It marked the second straight scoreless outing for the righty after allowing five earned runs back on September 17 to Memphis. Ben Leeper was the third and final pitcher to come out of the bullpen for the I-Cubs, tossing a scoreless ninth inning.

WALK DOWN THE LINE: Iowa took five more walks in Saturday’s finale against the Storm Chasers, giving them 34 walks as a team in the five-game series. The 34 free passes taken marked a season high in a single series this year for the I-Cubs, taking five or more walks in four of the five games, including a season-high 12 in their 13-inning contest Thursday night.

AGAINST TOLEDO: Iowa and Toledo will matchup for a three-game series at Principal Park, the final three games of the year for the two teams. The I-Cubs are two games below the .500 mark against the Mud Hens this year, going 8-10 through their first 18 games. They have played much better against Toledo here at Principal Park, however, going 7-5 in 12 games at home while going just 1-5 in the six-game series at Fifth Third Field. Iowa is 8-10 all-time against Toledo here at Principal Park and hold an 11-19 record all-time overall against the Mud Hens. They are looking to break a two-game losing streak against Toledo tonight.

SHORT HOPS: I-Cubs Manager Marty Pevey is three wins away from reaching the 600-mark with Iowa, but with just three games left to play, the I-Cubs need to win out to get their skipper his 600th career win at the helm…tonight’s starter Matt Swarmer struck out just one batter in his last start against Omaha on Tuesday, marking the least amount of strikeouts in a start for the righty since June 25, 2019, also against the Storm Chasers…Anderson Espinoza earned his first career Triple-A win on Saturday, striking out a season-high eight batters along the way.